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Second officer charged in Kelly Thomas' death is off police force

July 20, 2012 |  9:40 pm

Jay CicinelliThe second officer charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton last summer is no longer employed by the city, officials announced Friday.

In a statement, Dan Hughes, acting chief of police, declined to offer further details. It is unclear whether the officer resigned or was fired.

Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 40, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force, is the third officer to have lost his job over the incident that has rocked the north Orange County city. A black and white video of the beating shows Cicinelli smacking Thomas, a 37-year-old mentally ill homeless man, in the face or head with the butt of his Taser.

Cicinelli later says: "We ran out of options so I got the end of my Taser and I probably ... I just smashed his face to hell. He's on something, dude.... Three of us couldn't even control him."

The other officer changed in the beating, Manuel Ramos, left the city’s employment July 3. Ramos, 38, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Both Ramos and Cicinelli have pleaded not guilty.

A third officer, Joe Wolfe, who helped detain Thomas, was terminated by the city July 16; no charges have been filed against Wolfe or three other officers involved in the beating.

If convicted, Ramos faces a potential life sentence; Cicinelli could get four years in prison. Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said he hasn't ruled out filing charges against additional officers.

Cicinelli had been on unpaid leave; the city had reportedly initiated termination proceedings against him. The other three officers are on paid administrative leave.


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-- Thomas Curwen

Photo: Jay Cicinelli during a May court appearance. Credit: Pool photo